Egyptian uprising - updates and discussion

Egyptian uprising - updates and discussion

Live updates and discussion from the Egyptian uprising which began on 25 January 2011.

From the Egyptian Chronicles blog...

http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com/2011/01/jan25-is-getting-serious.html

Quote:
The January 25th protest is getting serious attention more and more. More Facebook pages and groups are calling for the #25 Jan and more political groups are going to participate in the huge event "They are about 17 groups".Many are praying that it be the start of a new thing in Egypt. Now if you are interested in following the protest on twitter to know its updates then follow this hash tag (#Jan25)

Surprisingly “Salafist movement for reform” aka “HAFS” has announced that it will participate in the event , this is the first time a Salafist movement participates in something like this considering the Salafist believes and teachings. I have my fear and my suspicion which I will keep it to myself. I know that this particular movement  has its political believes still ....

The Mahalla workers will participate too , you may remember how they made their own day on the 6th April from couple of years ago.

Another huge surprise or even change in this protest is its location in Cairo and Giza, it is no longer Down town or Nile corniche but rather at the famous Gamaat Al Doul street in Mohendessin , the heart of the middle class in Giza !! The other places are : Cairo university in Giza , Dawaran Shubra and Dawaran Al Mataria in Cairo.

The NDP will participate too , of course in pro-regime protests of love …etc. May be this will be a showdown between the regime and the opposition , the real opposition in Egypt on who has got the word in the street. There are rumors that the MOI will launch its thugs to create chaos and violence , all what I know for sure is  that the police will not enjoy their holiday because they will have to work.  Personally I think the regime will let that day pass peacefully in order not to push the people in to another degree of anger , the world is now watching the Arab countries post-Tunisian revolution in an anticipation.

The Egyptians in London are going to protest next Sunday January 23, 2011 at 1 PM in front of the Egyptian embassy in London , if you are there and interested in joining them then here is the Egyptian embassy address : 26 South Street, Westminster, London W1K 1DW. There will be also insh Allah a protest in Bologna , Italy. It will be held on the 23rd of January at 12 PM at Piazza del Nettuno. Also on Sunday there will be a protest held at 1 PM  in front of the Egyptian mission to the UN HQ in New York at at 304 East 44th Street.  Now it will not be the last capital in the world that will witness a protest in front of the Egyptian embassy or mission on that coming Sunday because there will be a protest in our embassy in Madrid at 1 PM too.

Our  great Tunisian brothers are going to protest in solidarity with the Egyptian people in front of the Egyptian embassy next January 25, 2011. Also our dear Jordanian brothers are going to protest inn front of the Egyptian embassy next January 25 ,2011. Our brothers in Yemen sent a solidarity email to the admin of “We are all Khaled Said” page.

Just like El General in Tunisia the Egyptian rap singers and bands are making songs for the #Jan25 just  like this one by rapper Ahmed Rock.There are lots of video clips on YouTube made by activists to encourage the people to participate in the protest of #Jan25.

Comments

Caiman del Barrio
Jan 31 2011 12:30
3arabawy wrote:
The Popular committees in Alexandria r arresting police officers whenever they spot them.
squaler
Jan 31 2011 13:21

أكثر من ربع مليون متظاهر يحتشدون حاليا في ميدان التحرير وسط القاهرة

over a quarter of a milion people are gathering now in the Liberation Tahreer square in the middle of Cairo

Caiman del Barrio
Jan 31 2011 13:36

Reporter on the ground for Al Jazeera is confirming stories of self-managed factories and cops being arrested by Popular Committees in Alexandria. Any welcoming of police officers has been restricted to "upper class areas of Cairo".

Matt_efc
Jan 31 2011 13:38

Al Jazeera reporting occupations and Popular assemblies arresting police officers on sight.

Auto
Jan 31 2011 14:19
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Reporter on the ground for Al Jazeera is confirming stories of self-managed factories and cops being arrested by Popular Committees in Alexandria. Any welcoming of police officers has been restricted to "upper class areas of Cairo".
Matt_efc wrote:
Al Jazeera reporting occupations and Popular assemblies arresting police officers on sight.

Wow... it seems to me that the longer Mubarak puts off leaving office, the more these 'alternate arrangements' become entrenched. I mean self-managing factories? Popular assemblies arresting police? That's sounding pretty revolutionary to me...

Red Marriott
Jan 31 2011 14:32
Quote:
• To our Arab brothers and sisters, if you want to support our intifada, overthrow your dictators. We need a regional intifada. about 3 hours ago via web
• What I want? Fuck liberal democracy where u vote rich bastards into the parliament every 5 years. WE WANT DIRECT DEMOCRACY! about 3 hours ago via web
• Left wing activists in the provinces are agitating for a general strike. about 3 hours ago via web
• The Mahalla workers have been taking part in the protests. Industrial actions are coming very soon. about 3 hours ago via web
• There r similar moves reported in other factories. I'm still trying to confirm. about 3 hours ago via web
• The workers at El-Ta3awon Printing House and Ghazl Meit Ghamr (textile) have kicked out their CEOs, and are now self managing the factories. about 3 hours ago via web http://twitter.com/3arabawy
Steven.
Jan 31 2011 14:38

Egypt unrest tag now on libcom:
http://libcom.org/tags/egypt-unrest

if anyone has any good articles, coverage or whatever please post up to the library and enter the tag "Egypt unrest"

squaler
Jan 31 2011 14:49

40 min ago hossam tweets:

More than 50,000 protesters are now in the streets of Mahalla, says @mar3e.

squaler
Jan 31 2011 15:48

Around 200,000 are now demonstrating in Mahalla, says @mar3e. The curfew is meaningless! Long live the Revolution...

Samotnaf
Jan 31 2011 15:59

What are the chances of a Tiananmen Square-type massacre now that more obvious forms of workers self-organisation seem to be developing? Obama might (as a political trap for his former ally) give the go-ahead to Mubarak to start machine-gunning etc., then publicly denounce him (stab him in the back) and get a significant section of the army to support ElBaradei and bourgeois democracy against "the violence of both sides"? It would require some strange method of convincing Mubarak to do this, but he might fall for it... Am I talking nonsense here - I mean is this a viable possibility?

Yesterday Sarkozy said something like "We support the Tunisian and Egyptian people in what is a crucial moment in time...[studied pause] Crucial - not just for the Tunisians and Egyptians but for the world [his emphases]. We should oppose violence wherever it comes from". This was on the midday news. By the evening this had been censored to : "We support the Tunisian and Egyptian people in what is a crucial moment in time.We should oppose violence wherever it comes from".(and I mean censored, because it was made to seem like the speech ran together, without having been cut up). Which means the ruling class considers it crucial - and that the decisions they make now will have crucial effects for the world. If the scenario in the first paragraph is being considered, I'd guess that it's going to be seen as a way of firstly punishing the most subversive proletarian aspects of this movement, and secondly, a way of rallying the "people" round ElBaradei to "oppose violence wherever it comes from" and a way of making a clear distinction between the old Mubarak (who could be put on trial for crimes against humanity) and the new democracy; plus a massacre would be a warning to other social movements - it could well put off social movements in Jordan, Algeria, the Yemen and other parts of the world as well. I don't know - maybe I'm seeing too much in all this, but clearly the world's rulers are rattled, and as we know their Machiavellianism knows no bounds.

Any ideas?

Khawaga
Jan 31 2011 16:33
Quote:
Anyone have any info on this new federation of trade unions? Political stance, aims, etc?

Entdichligung posted a lot of the relevant info, but I just wanted to add that the independent unions were one of the tangible results of the wave of strikes that Egypt has witnessed since 2004. Since they're newly formed they've not yet been recuperated by either state or capital.

Mark.
Jan 31 2011 16:53

Samotnaf - I'm assuming that the Tiananmen Square option is out of the question with half the world following events on TV. Could western politicians really afford to support or tolerate it? It's hard to see it being carried out by the army, one of the other security forces possibly but then surely this would be a signal for the army to move against Mubarak, as in Tunisia.

In Tunisia the Kasserine massacre was carried out with virtually no coverage from the mainstream media, presumably in an attempt to quash the insurrection at its source before it really took hold in Tunis and the other main cities. This failed and probably helped to ensure that the army felt it had to move against Ben Ali.

At least this is how I see it and I certainly hope I'm right.

ocelot
Jan 31 2011 16:58

re Tienamen option question. I think it unlikely. Not because the army command couldn't find elite or shock troops willing to commit large scale massacre, but because they may fear the consequences of reactions by the enlisted sections of the army.

From the perspective of both the local ruling elite and the US and Israel and their EU allies, losing the integrity of the chain of command in the army, at the moment when every other structure of power looks shaky at best, would be the most disastrous outcome. Even to risk it, is probably a risk too far for all the state players at this moment.

My guess is that this is why they have been reduced to psychological warfare such as the hysterical TV coverage of lawlessness (that they have clearly done a lot to create, even if not all looting or destruction can be reduced to that) and the pointless F16 flypasts.

squaler
Jan 31 2011 16:59

Hossam el-Hamalawy is doing a live Q&A on the Washington Post at 5pm GMT.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2011/01/31/DI2011013102323.html

petey
Jan 31 2011 17:19
Khawaga wrote:
I am sure that a lot of very wealthy Egyptians are pissing their pants.

purely an impression: on local NYC television, there have every night been interviews with local egyptians and egyptian-americans (all of them copts*). some have been identified on screen as 'dr.', some look to me to be prosperous. all of them have focussed on the violence and the looting, none of them have mentioned political aspects.

* not sure if there is a socio-economic element to this, it may be because they're willing to give access to their photogenic churches for interview purposes

joselito
Jan 31 2011 17:29

regarding the Tianenmen option, it seems unlikely, but of course events are moving rapidly and who knows. I suspect that the army is waiting for Mubarek to leave as well. In some ways there does appear to be conflict between the Interior ministers and the Army-The army let the police get routed by demonstrators in some cases, and elAdly has just been removed now as well. The army is still the most dominant institution and very respected by the average Egyptian-though that may break down depending on how they respond of course. In addition they must have been waiting for ailing Mubarek to pass soon, and his succession plans- passing it on to his son are now an impossibility, and were never well-recieved by the army who must have had other plans in mind anyway.

petey
Jan 31 2011 17:42

capitalist media weigh in:

Quote:
"One more thing," Burnett remarked. "If this spreads, the United States could take a huge hit because democracy in a place like Saudi Arabia, you've talked about who might come in power, what that means for oil prices. They're going to go stratospheric."

"There's no doubt about it,' MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said. "No doubt about it!"

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/cnbc-anchor-implies-support-dictators-cheap-oil/

Samotnaf
Jan 31 2011 19:02
Quote:
Samotnaf - I'm assuming that the Tiananmen Square option is out of the question with half the world following events on TV. Could western politicians really afford to support or tolerate it?

But I was suggesting that it would be presented solely as Mubarak's massacre, against the wishes of the US etc., even if they'd encouraged Mubarak behind the scenes (though maybe I wasn't clear). Read my post again (i've added a couple of things in square brackets, plus put some bits in bold which I hope makes what I'm saying clearer):

Quote:
What are the chances of a Tiananmen Square-type massacre now that more obvious forms of workers self-organisation seem to be developing? Obama might [secretly] (as a political trap for his former ally [ie Mubarak]) give the go-ahead to Mubarak to start machine-gunning etc., then publicly denounce him (stab him in the back) and get a significant section of the army to support ElBaradei and bourgeois democracy against "the violence of both sides"? It would require some strange method of convincing Mubarak to do this, but he might fall for it.....[it would be used ] as a way of firstly punishing the most subversive proletarian aspects of this movement, and secondly, a way of rallying the "people" round ElBaradei to "oppose violence wherever it comes from" and a way of making a clear distinction between the old Mubarak (who could be put on trial for crimes against humanity) and the new democracy; plus a massacre would be a warning to other social movements - it could well put off social movements in Jordan, Algeria, the Yemen and other parts of the world as well. I don't know - maybe I'm seeing too much in all this, but clearly the world's rulers are rattled, and as we know their Machiavellianism knows no bounds.

williejohn99
Jan 31 2011 19:19

Could anyone tell me the situation in Maadi district Cairo.Thanks.

Khawaga
Jan 31 2011 19:24

Washington Post Q&A with Hossam el-Hamalawy/Arabawy. Some interesting questions and answers.

Quote:
Boston, Mass.: How long before Mubarak steps down?

If he does, do you worry about a power vacuum?

Do you see ElBaradei as property interim leader until free and fair elections can be held?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: I see him stepping down pretty soon or else he will be taken into custody of the protestors and will be put on trial.

I do not worry about power vacuum because the people are already taking initiatives on the ground to fill any security or political vacuums as we saw in the case of the popular committee that are running security now in the Egyptian neighborhoods, following the evacuation of the police.

Regarding ElBaradei, I do not want to see him as an interim leader because he will diffuse the revolution, not take it forward.

_______________________

Sheffield, U.K.: Which are the opposition parties capable of replacing Mubarak and will they respect the call for elections?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: I don't see any of the current opposition groups capable of providing an alternative at the moment. And what I hope for is that we end up with direct democracy, not liberal democracy. Direct democracy is based on collective decision-making from below based on the committees that are springing up now in the neighborhoods and hopefully soon in the factories. Liberal democracy is voting for rich fat cats once every five years.

_______________________

Bluffton, Ohio: As a university student interested in social justice and social change, what can American students alike do to help during this situation?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: They can protest in the front of the Egyptian embassies and consulates and pressure their own government into cutting the aid they give to the Mubarak

Durham, N.C.: How much truth is there to rumors that police are behind the looting?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: These rumors are largely through many of those criminal thugs who work closely with the police who use them against political dissidents previously in elections and in protests.

_______________________

Coon Rapids, MN: Do you think the new government will be a secular one?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: At the moment it is very hard to say what the outcome of the uprising will be since it's not over yet. However, the Islamic forces are not running the show. Personally I'm hoping for a secular system.

_______________________

New York, NY: I am a Coptic Christian and would like to know if Coptic youth are taking part in the protests? And if you have spoken to any of them what are their hopes for Coptic rights if the regime leaves? Please give us some information. Thank you.

Hossam el-Hamalawy: Despite the call by the Coptic church in Egypt not to take part in the protests because the church is closely affiliated to the Mubarak regime but many of the Coptic youth are taking part in the uprising and the Muslim protesters largely welcome that and in demonstrations there are always slogans chanted by the demonstrators calling for unity between Copts and Muslims against the regime and denouncing sectarianism.

_______________________

London: What does "diffusing the revolution" mean for you? What is the aim of this revolution if not an interim leader and then a properly and freely elected new government?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: The revolution for me is about radical redistribution of wealth and a government that will represent the will of the Egyptian people when it comes to civil liberties in addition to a pro-resistance stand vis a vis the U.S. hegemony on the region and Israel. ElBaradei is not the man for that.

_______________________

Toronto, Canada: We see the size of the street protests but what types of organizations are springing up to organize these? For instance neighbourhood committees, factory committees, political parties. Or is it still primarily "spontaneous" and localized organizations?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: In many cases the protests are spontaneous but slowly there are grassroots organizations that are mushrooming to manage the protests, including the neighborhood committees, the few independent trade unions we have and hopefully soon factory committees.

_______________________

London: Do you see this as a popular, mass led, revolution? What chance do the Muslim Brotherhood have of hijacking it?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: It is a popular mass revolution indeed. However, history is full of previous cases where groups have hijacked the uprisings. Up until now the Brotherhood have not presented themselves as an alternative to Mubarak. But who knows about tomorrow?

_______________________

Washington, DC: If Mubarak steps down, is there a fear that a radical regime will take his place instead of a democratic one? How likely is that to happen?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: If you are taling radical, like in radical redistribution of wealth and active support for the spread of regional dissent against both the local Arab dictators and the western backers, then we welcome the radicalism. But if it was radicalism in the direction of religious fanatacism we definitely do not want that and I see no signs on the ground that religious fanatics are taking over.

_______________________

Barcelona, Catalonia: Was Tunisia a 'Berlin Wall moment' for the Arab world? Do you think it's likely that many other dictatorships in the region will fall in 2011?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: The real Berlin moment was the outbreak of the Palestinian interfabe (sp?) in 2000 that started a chain reaction all throughout the Arab world providing inspiration for street dissent. Having said that, the Tunisian revolution is indeed a catalyst in a process that has been brewing for ten years now.

_______________________

Austin, TX: We're only hearing about what is happening in Cairo, and to a lesser extent some other big cities. What's going on in rural Egypt?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: In rural Egypt ... if you mean the provinces which are not necessarily rural these protests continue on a daily basis and sometimes they are even more militant than the ones in Cairo.

_______________________

Newfoundland, Canada: What do you think Mubarak's strategy is, or are he and his Ministers just living in a bubble detached from reality?

It is very odd that the government would continually impose curfews and then do nothing to enforce them -it just emboldens people.

Hossam el-Hamalawy: I think Mubarak is confused and desperate so he is trying every trick in the book. But it's not working because the street pressure continues and escalates. Mubarak hoped for the end of the protests when he sent in the army expecting that people will be scared by the sight of the tanks and fighter jets. But it backfired.

_______________________

Bielefeld, Germany: Which country in the Middle East will be next? Do you think many more countries will experience such events like in Egypt?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: I think many countries in our region are about to embrace their own intefada. I think Yemen, Jordan and Algeria might be next.

_______________________

New York, New York: What incentive does Mubarak have to resign? What if he just decides to ignore the protests? Do you think the protesters can continue their momentum? Egypt is a country of over 80 million people - do you feel the protests are representative?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: No dictator has an incentive to leave and they only leave when they are forced to and I feel the tipping point to be coming very soon. And yes, the demonstrations are very much representative of the Egyptian people because you find men and women, Copts and Muslims, veiled and unveiled women, children and old men and women, so you have all the strats of Egyptian people.

_______________________

New York: Thus far, it appears that a very small percentage of Egyptians are demonstrating. Why is that? What percentage of Egyptians do you think the demonstrators represent?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: I think this is a mistaken idea and it's enough to tune in the TV stations to watch the hundreds of thousands basically in every province to understand that this has become a mass uprising.

_______________________

Sheffield, UK: Why do you think the West has been so hesitant and incremental in transitioning their support from Mubarak to the Egyptian people?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: Western governments like all other governments care about their own interests and do not put much value on what choices they make on who to ally themselves with except for their personal gains. That's why the Obama administration made foolish statements like those made by Joe Biden refusing to label Mubarak as a dictator simply because Mubarak is a friend of the U.S. government and Israel.

_______________________

Boston, MA: From your narrative it appears that you are supporting a socialist restructuring of Egyptian economic life in the post-Mubarak era, but there are also many in Egypt who would support something more akin to the European liberal social-democratic model. Are you qualified to give an accurate representation of what approach most protesters are agreeing upon?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: No one claims that there is an agreement yet among protesters about the post-Mubarak regime and I was very much clear in my previous answers that I was expressing my personal hopes towards what Egypt should look like. However, at the end of the day the majority of the Egyptian people will decide which direction to go.

Khawaga
Jan 31 2011 19:39
Hossam el-Hamalawy wrote:
Tomorrow we meet 9am in Tahrir Square. We will march on Mubarak's presidential palace in Heliopolis. Down with the dictator.
Khawaga
Jan 31 2011 19:59
Al Jazeera wrote:
The Egyptian army has said it would not use force against citizens staging protests to force President Hosni Mubarak to step down

In a statement on Monday it said "freedom of expression" was guaranteed to all citizens using peaceful means.

It was the first such explicit confirmation by the army that it would not fire at demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Egypt and comes a day before before Tuesday's "march of millions" to mark the seventh day of the protests as anti-government sentiment reaches fever pitch.

Our producer in Egypt reports on the latest developments

"The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people," the army statement said.

"Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody."

It urged people not to resort to acts of sabotage that violate security and destroy public and private property. It warned that it would not allow outlaws to loot, attack and "terrorise citizens".

Protesters have called for a massive demonstration and a rolling general strike on Tuesday.

The so-called April 6 Movement said it plans to have more than one million people on the streets of the capital Cairo.

The call came as Mubarak swore in a new cabinet in an attempt to defuse ongoing demonstrations across the country.

But opposition groups say personnel changes will not placate them and have said they will continue until the president steps down.

"The whole regime must come down," Hassan, a construction worker and protester told the Reuters news agency.

"We do not want anyone from Mubarak's retinue in the new government, which the people will choose. We want a civil government run by the people themselves."

Army presence

Our producer in Egypt reports on the latest developments in Tahrir Square

Up to 250,000 people are continuing to demonstrate in Cairo's Tahrir square after hundreds remained camped out overnight, defying a curfew that has been extended by the army.

There is a heavy army presence around the area, with tanks positioned near the square and officers checking identity papers.

One of Al Jazeera's correspondents said military attempts to block access to the square on Monday by closing roads was not working as more people were arriving in a steady stream.

"Protesters say they'll stay in this square for as long as Mubarak stays in power," she said.

Protesters seem unfazed by Mubarak's pledge to institute economic and political reforms. Our correspondent said people feel that such pledges "are too little, too late".

Al Jazeera reporters in Cairo also said police had been seen returning to the streets, directing traffic, after being absent since Friday.

"We are waiting for the minister of interior to announce in what form they are going to come back onto the streets and why they disappeared after Friday prayers, on the 'second day of rage'," one correspondent said.

"The absence of police has given looters a free rein, forcing ordinary citizens to set up neighbourhood patrols. Many people are wondering where the police disappeared to.

"There are two schools of thought as far as the police are concerned: One is that many of them decided to join the protesters.

"The other is that the regime was saying to the people, 'You want to protest. We'll pull back the police and you feel what anarchy feels like'," our correspondent said.

After deadly clashes in which around 125 people were killed in Cairo and other cities, protesters complained that police were using excessive force.

But an Al Jazeera correspondent said some locals greeted police as "long-lost friends" on Monday.

"It's almost as if the population of Cairo is suffering from selective amnesia ... We saw one small boy carrying a tray a of tea to a group of policemen. Another man got out of his car, kissed and hugged the policemen."

Panic and chaos

Meanwhile, many people are reported to be panic buying in Cairo amid the unrest.

"I walked into a supermarket and saw complete mayhem," an Al Jazeera correspondent said.

"People are stocking up on supplies as much as they can. There are very few rations available in the stores. They are running out of basic supplies, like eggs, cheese and meat. Deliveries have not been coming for days."

Chaos has also been reported at Cairo's international airport, where thousands of foreigners are attempting to be evacuated by their home countries.

As the protests continue, security is said to be deteriorating and reports have emerged of several prisons across the country being attacked and of fresh protests being staged in cities like Alexandria and Suez.

Thirty-four leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood were freed from the Wadi Natroun jail after guards abandoned their posts.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/20111311965695371.html

squaler
Jan 31 2011 21:07

from the guardian live blog:

6.30pm GMT: Much of the action is taking place today outside of Cairo – as it has done through the protests in Egypt. Reuters reports on the protests nationwide:

• Alexandria: Thousands of protesters gathered in the square outside the main train station chanting "Come on, go away, show some shame". Witnesses said they had brought blankets and food, intending to stay the night and take part in the million-strong march which activists have called for Tuesday.

• Mahalla El-Kubra: 2,000 people demonstrate in the Nile Delta textile town chanting "Wakey wakey, Mubarak, today's your last day". Some 3,000 protest in Tanta 3,000, and 1,000 in Kafr el-Zayat, also in the delta region.

• Hamoul: A demonstration by several hundred people in the town in Kafr el-Sheikh province, north of Cairo, was dispersed by "outlaws" armed with sticks and swords, witnesses said. Seven protesters were injured. In Kafr el-Sheikh town 3,000 protested.

• Fayoum: 20,000 people took part in a silent demonstration in Sawaqi square in the city south of Cairo.

---
so the numbers hossam is showing in mahalla, from @mar3e, are quite different from the numbers the guardian is listing. I wonder which one is more accurate, and I wonder how you say 'wakey' in arabic.

edit: EA liveblog claim 100k marched in mahalla, linked to this tweet:
100,000 Protesting in Mahalla. With a population of 500,000, thats one in every five.

squaler
Jan 31 2011 20:48

Report: Egypt request crowd dispersion equipment from Israel

The Al Jazeera network reported Monday that Egypt appealed to Israel to send crowd dispersal equipment, including tear gas. Al Jazeera reported that two Israeli airplanes carrying the equipment landed in Cairo. (Elior Levy)

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4021742,00.html

redsdisease
Jan 31 2011 23:12
Quote:
What are the chances of a Tiananmen Square-type massacre now that more obvious forms of workers self-organisation seem to be developing? Obama might (as a political trap for his former ally) give the go-ahead to Mubarak to start machine-gunning etc., then publicly denounce him (stab him in the back) and get a significant section of the army to support ElBaradei and bourgeois democracy against "the violence of both sides"? It would require some strange method of convincing Mubarak to do this, but he might fall for it... Am I talking nonsense here - I mean is this a viable possibility?

I would be pretty shocked if this happened. Even if Mubarak wanted to do this and had the okay from Western power, I don't know if he would have the power to do this. The police seem to still lack any real power within Egyptian cities, and the army seems to be charting a sort of middle course between the protestors and the presidency. We've already seen them let the police be routed by protestors and they've stated that they will not use force against protestors, though that isn't any real guarantee of course.

As the army might be the most powerful power source outside of the presidency, is it possible that generals maybe jockeying for position to lead Egypt if Mubarak falls while also not trying to alienate him in case he doesn't?

Mark.
Jan 31 2011 23:31

Video from Saturday, posted on the Arabist blog

Quote:

The above video was from an amazing moment when what appears to be a one-star general stood atop a tank and addressed the crowd. He told them that the country was in a dire situation, and the army had to restore calm. When pressed on whether he supported Mubarak, he told them, more or less, that this was not his mission. People are free to protest and express their opinion, and free to choose their leader.

I don't have time to translate the whole thing, so if someone wants to do so in the comments, please do so.

Quote:
Very quick translation from what I could make out:

Crowd: Down with Mubarak. Mubarak out...


Officer: Hear me ?


Crowd: yes


Officer: We haven't forgotten the country. The country is in chaos now.


Crowd: it's the police. It's the police.


Officer: I don't want to repeat slogans about how we love the country. We all know this. My name is Mohammad. We had a problem yesterday. I'm not going to tell you not to demonstrate. Do what you want, demonstrate how you want.


Crowd: (applause) Here is the Egyptian army, here is the Egyptian army!


Officer: The country from yesterday was being looted. If the government is 50 men robbing the country, now we have a lot more than that robbing the country. What's going on now is that there are no prisoners left in the country. Yesterday we found wonderful young men similar to the ones who protected the national museum. You are just as wonderful as them. Someone entered the national museum to damage it. You are the ones who need to protect the country.


Someone in crowd asks a question (not sure of the wording)


Officer: It's not my business what will happen next. You are the ones who will change things.


Crowd: (applause)


Officer: At four pm the Muhandeseen neighborhood was being robbed. We can tell things from our position that you can't. A lot of places are being robbed. We came down to protect the country.

squaler
Jan 31 2011 23:37

ISP Noor has been shut down,

Guardian live blog:

The speculation was that Noor had been allowed to remain in operation because it supplied data links to Egypt's stock exchange and other critical parts of the national infrastructure, including airports. Quite what happens now is a mystery.

A visit to the stock exchange's website, www.egyptse.com, turns up a "server not found" message. The stock exchange is closed tomorrow, because of the protests, so the government may have decided to take the risk and shut down the last ISP.

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EA live blog:

Ivan Watson of CNN reports that the Egyptian Ministry of Information has told them all cell phone service will be shut down just ahead of tomorrow's expected 'Million Man March'.

Mark.
Jan 31 2011 23:55

Egyptian financial crisis looms

Quote:
Economists are warning that if Egypt's turmoil continues much longer, the country will not have enough currency reserves to avoid a long term financial crisis.

Currency traders said on Monday that investors have transferred hundreds of millions of dollars out of the country since the start of the protests six days ago.

Banks are still closed throughout Egypt and markets are suspended. Many fear that once they open, millions of dollars will be withdrawn additionally...

rooieravotr
Feb 1 2011 00:16

A few things on the Tiananmen scenario. I consider it highly unlikely, and - if tried - it would probably fail. A comparison shows crucial differences.

First, in China 1989, there were two Tiananmen moments, not one. There was the first military operation against the demonstrations which were then millions strong, 19 May. Army apparently had orders not to shoot, tanks got drowned in te the crowds, within a few days, military withdrew from the center of town. Then: stand-off, dwindling demonstrations, while behind the scene there was receding talk of reform and compromise - while a new, decisive attack was prepared.

In the beginning of June, demonstrations started growing again - and in the meantime, workers' resistance was beginning to cristallize. The Deng Xia Ping leadership decided that the moment had come, and went for the attack. They succeeded - barely.

Now, the differences with Egypt today are quite strong. At the moment, the movement in Egypt is on the rise. There has not been a weakening, as in China when the final attack came: the movement had been continuing for six, seven weeks before 3-4 June. Another thing: the Chinese leaders had to replace the units they sent into Beijing in May. They sent newly-prepared units, apparently from inner-China-regions, soldiers who barely had contact with the urban protest movements, sometimes even speaking another language. They COULD do such a thing, because in China in 1989, the overwhelming majority was rural, not urban. This use of other, rural-based troops without urban connection, wil be much harder in Egypt at the moment. There simply is not that endless rural hinterland that the Chinese leaders coould militarily mobilize against the urban students and workers. There is not much of a fall-back-option in a military sense (unless the American and/ or Israeli army lends a helping hand with ho hundreds of thousands of soldiers...)

Another difference. The mass movements in Egypt are much more spontaneously, less formally-organised than the often quite regimented demonstrations in China. There is also not the conciously non-violent attitude that, catastrophically in the end, disfigured the Chinese student movement: Egyptians have made it quite clear that they will fight, and fight hard.They defeated the police. That is why Mubarak sent the army. But sending them to impress people is not the same as using them to crush them. And the people do not seem that impressed (though there are big and dangerous illusions in the army). They will fight the army, and I doubt very much if the army will hold together. Mutiny seems much more likely, after all the contacts between demonstrators and soldiers.

Yet another difference. Workers' involvement seems to be much stronger in Egypt now. Embryonic self-organisation idem dito. The million on the street will feel the support for an openly called general strike. Using military force in this specific situation seems like the best way to intensify the revolution even further. If Mubarak is madman enough to try this road, I think either his generals nor his Pentagon sponsors will wil block that road - in their own interest.

The big danger, in the short run, is not the army. The big danger is the political spectacle unfolding, qwith transitions to democracy and stuff like that. They want to tame the revolution, because they see that frontally crushing it is impossible - for the moment. However, what I have said only holds for a mass movement still growing. After a longer impasse, ther balance might change, again with China as a useful comparison - and warning.